Spartan Daily, Issue date: 2/15/07, Section: News
Naturally fertilized, chemical-free fresh fruit products grown on socially responsible farms will soon take up positions alongside conventionally farmed apples at San Jose State University’s cafeteria, Environmental Resource Center Director Amie Frisch, revealed last week.
ALBA Organics, a non-profit distributorship, will begin supplying Market Cafe with organic produce; under the terms of a plan that will begin cautiously with fruits – and later expand to vegetables if market conditions prove favorable, said Market Cafe manager James Whinery.
Some SJSU students may be ready to spring for food without pesticides because they believe it is healthier.
“I would buy it, even if it costs more, because I feel organic is better for you,” said Ashley Goularte, a senior majoring in kinesiology. “You’re not putting unnecessary toxins in your body.”
“I don’t buy the apples and oranges now. I’m from the country, and I know that apples don’t shine like that,” said Michelle Celino, and senior majoring in English.
University officials initially expressed concerns over the higher cost of certified organic produce grown under more socially conscious farming conditions, according to Frisch.
“They were never against it, just worried it wouldn’t sell,” she said. “So we are creating a promotional campaign, and as soon as it’s done, the organic produce will be out in the Market Cafe.”
Frisch said, noting that could be just days away.
Frisch hopes to rely on Alba Organics, “which would give us food from small, local, sustainable farms.”
The Salinas, Calif. based Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association created the retail ALBA Organics to supply regional consumers. According to its Web site, its clients include the Housing and Dining Services at Stanford University and University of California, Santa Cruz.
Whinery feels the market laws of supply and demand will determine the success of the new menu offerings.
“The problem is organic small apples sitting next to cheaper, bigger, conventional apples that will sell better,” he said.
Last year, the cafe offered organic products for sale, but failed to promote the additions, Whinery says. Sales were poor and the initiative was abandoned.
ALBA Marketing coordinator Dina Izzo invoked social change language to characterize the expanded menu options.
“The victory came from the power of students organizing and using their voice,” she said.
With Alba’s distribution the price of a natural apple will cost about the same as the waxy ones currently available, Izzo said.
“I don’t think the prices are out of line,” Izzo said.
The Market Cafe will follow the market, according to Whinery.
“I’m a retailer. I’m going to sell what people buy,” he said.